Survivors

So how do you survive the zombie apocalypse? And what kind of people are going to be around in the end days? I answer as much of that as I can below . . .

CardioRule One: Cardio
Ok, I’m borrowing from Zombieland here but cardio is a great idea whether there’s an apocalypse or not. It’s primarily good for training yourself to build stamina in breathing and it’s a great stress reliever. I like to crank up some music and blaze a trail. If you have good cardio you should be able to pop off a good 10K without too much problem. I usually do that in about 55 minutes.

Running isn’t the only thing to do though. Mix it up, do some jumping jacks, burpies, jump rope. There are tons of great carido routines online. I tend to be a fan of P90X and Tony Horton  but you should look around and see what’s out there.

 

GardeningRule Two: Gardening
Be honest, how many edible plants have you every grown?

If the bad days ever do come, zombie or otherwise, having a strong stock of edible plants is the way to go. This past summer I started experimenting with gardening and I’ll be frank; if it ever comes down to growing my own crops for survival, I’m screwed.

There’s just no way I can grow enough to keep myself alive right now. It’s totally possible, I’ve got the space, but I DON’T know what I’m doing. My tomatoes were great, all three of them. Cherry tomatoes by the way. Those tiny little ones. My Ivy died, meaning bean plants wouldn’t make it and even my aloe plant isn’t doing so well. So get planting now if you want to make it in the end!

 

GahndiRule Three: Going without
How good at you at going without? Most people bitch and complain when they can’t get a wifi signal or their phone drops a call. Maybe they cry like children because they can’t get their morning Grande Latte enema. In any emergency situation like an earthquake, flood or our favorite, the zombie apocalypse, people are going to go without. It’s guaranteed. So being able to go without seems like a pretty smart idea.

Fasting has gotten a lot of attention for its apparent health benefits over the past few years. And anyone who has tried to lose weight or get in shape can tell you self control can be a real bitch. So performing a few occasional fasts might be a good way to stay disciplined, healthy and ready, just in case. And, because I know someone is going to think fasting means starving yourself, NO, don’t do that. Don’t be stupid. Eat healthy. But don’t be afraid to eat a little less or to space your meals out. Try going one day from sun up to sun down without chowing down on tons of food. Your fat ass could probably stand it.

Discipline also means going without the creature comforts. There’s a lot of peace and benefit to be found in not owning tons of crap you don’t need. My dorm room back in my first and second years in university were a disastrous assortment of crap. Today, I’m happy when I can get rid of a little more, make a little more open space in my home, simplify my clutter and focus on what really satisfies me in my illustration and my work. So, try doing a clearing out, maybe hold off on buying that third television. Do you really need it? Or the second one? Or the first one for that matter? (I don’t even own a TV and I love it.)

id plantsRule Four: Knowledge
What’s that plant over there? The one closest to you. Outside your window, in your yard, on the trail when you’re hiking. Do you know what any of those plants are? Are they edible? How do you prepare them?

Me? I have no friggin’ clue.

Hiking is awesome and every single time I go I wish I had a book of plants and animals with me to start learning what they were. Seriously, only people who actually know how to survive are actually going to be able to make it through like Daryl on the Walking Dead. I’m not there yet but I know what I need to do to survive. Pick up a book and start reading. A little knowledge goes a long way.

We all know by now that no one makes it out alive. But what kind of people are you going to be surrounded by in the last days? 

wizardsAt first I really wasn’t sure what to call these guys. I thought about old wise men. Although to be fair here, they could very well be old wise women as well. But since I recently did an illustration of Dale from The Walking Dead, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use that particular image to point out the kind of survivor he was, and so I went with the wise man.

When I say wizards or wise old man what I mean is people with a lot of experience. They tend to be fairly calm in the face of danger and they tend to ask the right kinds of questions. They have enough experience in their lives because they’re older or they’ve just done a lot of things. They don’t actually need to be so old per se, but they know a lot they’ve been through a lot and experience has taught them about people and the world.

hunters
When it comes to “end of the world” stories, a lot of us like to think we’d somehow survive it. That we’d be more clever than everyone else, stronger, more resourceful, and with a better plan than everyone else out there. Truth be told, I don’t think most of us would actually make it. Not for long anyway.

It takes a lot to get by in a world where the societal comforts we’ve grown accustomed to are suddenly gone. How do you get water? If you get water, how do you know it’s safe to drink. If it’s not, what should you do? Just basic survival is a major ordeal and truth be told it IS a big deal for people living all over the world. It maybe sounds a bit corny but we need each other to get by. We need that support system to deliver food, provide water and keep roads clear for transportation when the weather turns against us.

Then there are hunters. There are these rare and amazing individuals who not only survive in the aftermath of humanity but seem to thrive off it. I call them hunters. These are people who not only get by on the road or holed up in a farm house with the undead banging down the gates. These are the people who actively go out looking for zombies to kill. Hard talking, tough guys and gals with not only enough grit to get by but the ability to kick some ass while doing it.

A nice example of a hunter would be Woody Harrelson’s character in Zombieland. Who’s your favorite zombie hunter?

feral kids
Remember Newt in Aliens? Of course you do. What kind of person would be reading a blog like this and NOT know about Newt from Aliens. Newt wasn’t quite feral yet. In fact TRUE cases of feral children are quite rare. Feral children typically result from cases of abuse or neglect and not just from living in the woods or being raised by wolves like a Benji adventure story.

In the zombie period, child survivors would probably abound. They would be wary of adults, filthy, malnourished, and likely to have highly secure nests. Children would be able to get into areas larger adults wouldn’t allowing them to escape certain zombies and occasional survivors that might threaten them. The degree to which the a child would be in a state like this depends a great deal on the length of time they were on their own.

More on feral children.

scavengers
No matter how you’re surviving in the zombie age, you want a few scavengers in your group. (Think Glen on the Walking Dead.)

Scavengers are able to find things, get them, and get out again without causing a huge noise or mess. They are great at sneaking about quietly and always travel light. Scavengers are often trying to avoid confrontation. They’ll hide out, maybe build a little nest someplace secure, but aren’t likely to stay in one place for very long. They go where the supplies take them. The bad thing about scavengers is that since they are often on the move they are more likely to have encounters with zombies of all types. Out of those encounters they aren’t going to actually stop that many zombies. So it’s possible they would lead zombies into an area where you are hiding out or even back to their own camp if they are part of a group.

cannibals

In most cultures, the thought of eating people is repugnant. In cases of extreme deprivation or starvation it’s seen as the most extreme step in survival. Would you do it? Or would I? It’s hard to say. In stories like The Road there are some terrifying encounters with cannibals who have decided to turn other survivors into food for their own gains. (I’m basing this on the book not the movie as I haven’t seen the film yet. The book was excellent though.)

And what of the cannibals themselves?

Take a minute to feel for these poor bastards. They are desperate and driven to what they do. The sort of psychological torture they have to endure for the rest of their lives because of an act of desperation is astounding. They must live their lives wracked by the memory and the knowledge that they have committed the one act unacceptable in nearly every corner of the world. And if they had to kill to do it, it’s even worse. When we think of cannibals we think of psychotics like Hannibal Lector or heroic survivors like the football team from Alive. Perhaps they remind us too much of how close we really are to the zombies.

red shirts
Ah the hapless red shirts. They float through life like targets. We have the brave but brainless extras-cum-ensigns from the original Star Trek to thank for this name. In nearly every horror movie there’s some hapless nitwit who isn’t paying attention, the monster stalks up behind them and the screams begin. You can always spot a red shirt, even when they aren’t in red. They are usually played by actors you don’t recognize or characters you don’t care anything about.

If you’ve got a red shirt in your survival group it’s time to get them to change their colors. Sloppy survival skills pose a risk to the red shirt and everyone around them, which means you. So get your people training as soon as possible. Get them practicing weapons use and survival skills. Run drills if you have to and make sure everyone does it. A red shirt who feels they are being singled out can turn into a minor villain pretty quickly if they feel they are being unfairly singled out.

victims
Ok, so this isn’t actually a survivor. But not being a zombie, and not being a survivor, I thought this would be the best place for her.

Let’s take a moment to remember, the victims. That’s right, the unfortunate masses who did not survive the zombie apocalypse and who didn’t turn either. These are the simple civilians like you and I who fell to unfortunate circumstances. Maybe they had accidents, ran out of food, or became food for the living dead. While walking around the abandoned streets of small town America and big city London we’ve seen piles of these unfortunate souls laying about in all sorts of states.

They make for great scare tactics too. You can never really be too sure about which ones are zombies and which ones aren’t. You might remember when Rick got into the tank in the beginning of the Walking Dead and we were all sure that the soldier in there with him was just a soldier, until he opened his eyes! Creepy!

So if you find yourself in a world overrun by zombies, be sure to leave no stone unturned and no head unsquished, just to be sure.

homelessWhen it comes to survivors, the homeless are some of the toughest. The fact is they are already living a very hard life where disease, violence and the very need for food fresh water and shelter are the norm. These are people who know how to find food and water and are willing to do absolutely anything to get by. When was the last time you slept outside? Were you in a comfy tent with an inflatable pillow and a sleeping bag like me? Then you have nothing on these guys.

When the shit goes down, the homeless are just going to keep on rolling.

Incidentally, if you’ve played the first season of the Walking Dead Video game then you’ve already seen one of these types of survivors in Chuck. Good ol’ Chuck. It’s Charles if your fancy. (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.)

cops
Cops make good candidates for survivors, as do military personnel and firefighters. Cops are particularly good because they have ready access to weapons and equipment that other people wouldn’t. Although some soldiers MIGHT deal with munitions on a daily basis many of them don’t. Cops are also very good on the ground in cities and know their way around. They are well trained and generally keep their cool in emergency situations. It’s likely that having a cop around will increase your chances of survival a great deal.

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